ISLAMABAD - The two-day visit of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, beginning from today is set to deepen the bilateral ties between Moscow and Islamabad after Pakistan reformed foreign policy to engage its neighbours and near neighbours including Russia.
“Diversification of Pakistan’s foreign policy is successfully bearing fruits as bilateral ties with Russia are progressing well,” senior Pakistani diplomats told TheNation on Tuesday, hoping the visit of Russian foreign minister would further boost ties between the two countries.
They were of the view that the visiting dignitaries would take Islamabad on board over reasons of President Putin’s visit to Pakistan for his national engagements in the country but with a very clear message that Russian Federation is totally committed to enhancing its relations with Pakistan.
They believed that the visit of President Putin was not significant in terms of growing bilateral relations between the two countries as he was scheduled to participate in the quadrilateral moot of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Russia that has been put off and being rescheduled.
Sources said that Pakistan and Russia enjoy an excellent relationship based on mutuality of interest in enhancing greater bilateral cooperation and convergence of views on various important regional and international issues.
The two countries also share the common objective of peace and stability in the broader region and attach importance to regional connectivity both in terms of trade and energy cooperation. Lavrov is visiting Pakistan at the invitation of Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar extended during her last visit to Moscow in February this year that led to increase bilateral relations between the two countries.
During his stay in Islamabad besides holding bilateral consultations, Foreign Minister Lavrov is also scheduled to call on the President and the Prime Minister.
The sources said that the visit of Foreign Minister Lavrov would provide an opportunity to further expand and intensify the existing mutually beneficial bilateral ties. Likewise, the visit of Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pavez Kiyani to Russia would also help boost military-to-military relations between the two countries.
Recently, the two countries also held their Second Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Islamabad and discussed concrete proposals on various areas of cooperation including Energy, Industries and Production, Bilateral Trade and Investment, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, Agriculture.
Pakistan and Russia have signed three MoUs during the Second Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation held in Islamabad, and these MoUs related to expansion of Pakistan Steel Mills and cooperation in railways and water and power sector projects.
The first memorandum is about modernization, reconstruction and expansion of production capacity of the Pakistan Steel.
Russia’s Tyazhpromexport Company, which had helped Pakistan establish the plant, will carry out technical audit. The financial and technical terms of the project will be finalised during visit to Moscow by a Pakistani delegation.
Under the MoU on railways, Russia will explore opportunities of cooperation with Pakistan Railways, particularly a joint venture for manufacturing passenger carriages. Russia will also participate in a tender to be floated for the supply of carriages.
The third MoU concerns Russian investment in energy sector. The Russian Federation will cooperate in converting Jamshoro and Muzaffarabad thermal power plants from furnace oil into coal.